Friday, April 13, 2007

Who Starts a Fight Over a Traffic Ticket?? Don't Trust The Police...

This is just further confirmation of the bias of police, not all police, but rather generally speaking...

Here's the story,

Kuldip Singh Nag was resting on his couch two weeks ago when his 4-year-old son woke him.

"My boy came in and said, 'Papa, the police are here,'" Nag said.

Minutes later, Nag said, he was struggling to clear his eyes of pepper spray as an officer beat him with a metal baton and shouted racial epithets in front of his wife and children. The officer was there because of an expired license plate sticker on the van in Nag's driveway.

Nag, 49, a Sikh who emigrated from India two decades ago and served 10 years in the U.S. Navy, faces a felony charge of aggravated battery and a misdemeanor charge of resisting arrest. Police said there was no evidence to support Nag's claim that the rookie officer used a racial slur. And they said the officer was only trying to do his job when Nag shoved him away from the van and resisted as the officer tried to place him in custody. They said Nag and his lawyers have not filed a complaint with the department.

Both sides agree that on March 30 the officer pulled up to the Nag residence in the 3500 block of Buck Avenue on Joliet's west side and began writing a tow order for the family van parked in the driveway. Police said a neighbor called about the van. Nag's house had recently been targeted twice by vandals with paint.

The officer told Nag's wife that the tow order was being issued because the vehicle had an expired license plate sticker, said police Cmdr. Keith Turney. He said Nag's wife told the officer that the van did not run.

Nag went to see what was happening.

"I went outside on my driveway and said, 'Sir, this is private property, and you cannot issue me a ticket,' " he said. "He said, 'No, I can do that.' I said to him, 'This is private property.' He became angry, and he ran up to me and sprayed pepper spray in my eyes and then he started beating me."

Nag's attorney, Andrew Spiegel, said that as Nag rubbed his eyes with one hand, the officer tried to wrestle him to the ground. "At no time did this officer tell Mr. Nag that he was under arrest," Spiegel said.

When the officer was unable to take Nag to the ground, he took out his baton and "began hitting [Nag] on the shoulders, legs and ankles," Spiegel said. "He then jabbed him a few times in the stomach, and when he didn't go down, he hit him over the head with [the baton]. That worked."

Nag said: "All the time he was hitting me, he was saying, 'You [expletive] immigrant, go back to your country or I will kill you.' I was telling him, 'I'm a [U.S.] citizen and a veteran. I've been here 21 years. What country do you want me to go back to?'


Turney said the officer only sought to arrest Nag after he was pushed. The officer tried to subdue Nag by using the man's arm as leverage and then tried to take him to the ground by striking him in the thigh with the baton, Turney said.

When both methods failed, the officer resorted to pepper spray and radioed for assistance and, after a short struggle, subdued Nag in the yard next to the driveway, Turney said. Nag said he vomited in the squad car and when he vomited a second time at the police station, he was taken to Silver Cross Hospital. Spiegel said his client suffered a concussion and was hospitalized for four days for dizziness and blackouts.Nag was released into police custody April 3, and bail was set at $10,000 the next day. He was released after posting bond and is scheduled for a May 2 preliminary hearing.

"From our perspective, these are pre-textual criminal charges filed to cover up a hate crime by a police officer," said Spiegel, referring to Joliet's code that allows police to ticket abandoned vehicles on private property. Turney said the officer, whom he declined to identify, has been exemplary in his 15 months with the department.

"It would seem highly unusual for an officer to use such force to enforce placing a tow sticker on a vehicle," he said. "Apparently, the officer must have felt that he was under attack."

Turney said his office would try to speak with Nag to determine whether he wants to file a formal complaint. Spiegel said he had not filed a complaint with the department out of concern that it might adversely affect Nag's criminal case.

Notice how the police spokesman Cmdr. Turney says that "It would seem highly unusual.... to use such force to enforce placing a tow sticker..." Yes, that's the point officer. It is unusual. Who in their right mind gets into a fight with a cop about a tow sticker? Would you start fighting with someone giving you a ticket or a 'tow sticker'? I know that I wouldn't.

I'm sure that some guy with a wife and kid who went outside to see a uniformed cop placing a ticket or sticker on his vehicle isn't about to start a physical fight with the guy! Why not just go to city hall and fight the ticket/ sticker in court, or show the city that the vehicle isn't fit to run and so the sticker should be removed and the tow order rescinded.

This seems to me to be a case of harrassment on the part of the police. Let's see what comes of this...

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